Wednesday 1 December 2021

December: the end of growing season

Wow, time flies. It's the last month of the year already 🙂

High time to tidy up the garden, choose new varieties from our tester seeds, and explore the app's newest features - there're some for advanced growers too.
The office garden at the end of November
You might think that it gets quieter for a vegetable garden company around this time of year. Not for us. We're already working hard to get ready for next year.

But first things first: let's check out the garden.

December in the vegetable garden

Well, it'll be a brief briefing: this month is all about cleaning up anything tired and ugly-looking, removing weeds, and taking care of the vegetables that can handle the cold and will be here for a while.

We had beautiful weather here on Monday, so I went to work. I got rid of the tired sunflowers, the remnants of the beans on the trellis, and the last marigolds.

Soon, I had a big wheelbarrow full:
Tidying up the garden
But some of the plants are staying put. Like the chard, endive, dino kale, and arugula. We still harvest those regularly.

I'll leave the small plants in the MM-bamboo garden table and protect them with an MM-Muts. They could still grow a bit, depending on the temperature. But most of them will only really get growing next spring.
Empty vegetable patches - and a few full ones still
This is what the garden looks like today: tidy garden boxes and everything that could go is gone. Also, the weather's not quite as nice:
Early December: cold and rain

App: more features for when you've been growing for a while

An update is coming soon and it's got a few nice new features:

Delay function for experienced Planty Gardeners

If you've been growing for a few years, you probably don't need all the information the chat bot wants to share. You probably want to make your decision right away:
  • wait it out (delay)
  • just continue (and then follow the steps or not)
  • get rid of the plant (remove)
We already included the options to remove the plant or continue, but now there's a new way to postpone a step. All you need to do is tap the 'delay' button:

Moving a plant in the app

Now you can also move a plant from one patch to another in your garden box. Go to the plant you want to move and press on the square a little longer. Then choose 'Re-order'. On the next screen, press the square patch where you want the plant to go:

Changing the order of your garden boxes

Here's how you can move your garden boxes in the app:

Press on the name of the garden box and choose 'Re-order'.

Now hold your finger on the 3 dashes next to the garden box. You'll see it turn into a kind of bar which you can drag up or down: just drag it exactly where you want it.

Starting a new season

At the beginning of the year, you'll prepare your garden box(es) for the new growing season. You'll tidy everything up, mix the soil mix together thoroughly, and add nutrients. Now you can include that you're starting fresh in the app.

Press on the name of a garden box and choose 'New season'. You'll then get a pop-up confirmation:
And last but not least, a few annoying bugs have been fixed.

The update for iOS is ready and will go out tomorrow. The update for Android will come next week, Johan is still working on it.

Another nice thing to know: everything you share with us - about app support or a special request - we put on a big list. If there's a lot of demand for it, if we think it's useful, and if we can do it, then Johan and Jelmer will start working on it sooner or later.

You ask, we deliver 😀

The test seeds of 2021

Last year we - together with other Planty Gardeners - tried out 6 kinds of seeds: French radish, Pepper Padron, a new marigold, Red Russian cabbage, striped stuffer tomatoes, and flat-leaved parsley:
Our 2021 tester seeds
The results? We've chosen which ones will be available in the shop and app next year and which ones didn't make the cut.

Read all about it in this blog post.

Plastic waste

Robbin and I visited the plastic division of 1 of the 3 landfills in Almere last week. It's incredible how much junk ends up there. Especially when you consider that Almere has only 200,000 residents.

Did you know that 60% of all plastic waste can't be recycled? So it either gets burned or is buried under a layer of soil.

What can we do about it? Well, we use that unrecyclable plastic to make planks for our MM-Heroes. Making the planks involves a special technique and that's done on a small scale in the Netherlands.

It is time to change that. We're seeing how we can make a difference.
Just some of the plastic waste in the town of Almere that's not recyclable

Price increases

Everything getting more expensive, for us too. The cost of materials, transport, and packaging is going up.

So unfortunately we can't avoid it: as of January 1, the price of the soil mix, seeds, nutrients, and the trellis will go up by about 10%. The price of pre-sowing vermiculite even more.

For the other stuff, we'll do our best to keep the prices the same, but we're still working that out.

That's all for today

Enough fussing about prices: I'm looking forward to Sinterklaas. Here in the Netherlands, that's when Saint Nick rides in on his horse to deliver presents 🙂 Tonight, I'll put my shoe out with our last carrots (his horse will like that):
A few carrots for Saint Nick's horse
Maybe I'll check in with you again before Christmas to wish you happy holidays. But if I don't get around to it, then here's all my best wishes for now.

Stay healthy and drive carefully, because the roads are already pretty slippery.

See you later!

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